How to get a UK account for workers from France who are new to the UK

France and the UK share a close connection – quite literally, in the case of the Channel Tunnel, which was a truly historic feat of engineering that broke the barrier between the two countries in late 1990 and opened for business in 1994.

With present-day links via cross-channel ferry, affordable air flights and Eurotunnel alike, it’s no surprise that many thousands of people choose to travel from the UK to France, or vice versa, every year for holidays, to visit friends and family, or to work in temporary and permanent jobs.

However, the two countries do not share a currency, as the UK never joined the euro – and if you are living in the UK for an extended period of time, it makes good sense to have a local account with a balance in pounds sterling.

This not only means you can avoid paying foreign exchange fees when spending or withdrawing money, it might also be necessary in order to set up certain services with UK suppliers, or to get your wages paid in by a UK employer.

French nationals in the UK

There are around 175,000 French nationals in the UK who currently list the UK as the country in which they live – not just somewhere they are visiting for a vacation.

You will find French nationals living and working throughout the country, from England to Scotland, and from Wales to Northern Ireland, and French is a widely spoken second language among British people too, as well as being one of the main languages taught in schools here.

For French people living in the UK for any length of time, that should all help to make you feel more welcome – but unfortunately the same is not always true of the British banks.

They may demand proof of your employment status or of your right to work in the UK and to live here for an extended period of time, or they may also want you to prove your financial status and employment history from back home, or make a substantial deposit in order to open a UK bank account.

An easy way to get a UK account

The Arro Personal Account is not a bank account – it is an online electronic money account – but it still gives you a UK sort code and account number that employers can use to pay your wages in directly, rather than paying you cash in hand.

You can easily get at your money when you need it, with an Arro cash card plus MasterCard® debit card that is accepted in shops for chip and pin and contactless card payments, and at ATMs for cash withdrawals.

But you don’t need to make an initial deposit – in fact you could open an Arro Personal Account with zero balance until your first wages are paid in, if that works best for your circumstances.

And you don’t need to prove lots of your address history, past employment or financial status, as we only need to confirm that you are over 18, currently live in the UK and pass our Fair Fit criteria.

There is no credit check or mark on your credit file, so if you expect to apply for financial products such as credit cards and loans elsewhere, applying for an Arro Personal Account will not have any negative effect on your chance of being approved for those.

How to apply

We have made the Arro Personal Account signup process as fast and easy as possible – it can take just three minutes, and you don’t need to speak fluent English as it’s just a simple form to fill in online.

All we need from you is the following:

  • Your name.
  • Your age (to check you are over 18).
  • Your UK address (even if you only just moved in).
  • Your contact details (to send you your account number).

Once we verify your ID and check that you meet our Fair Fit criteria, we guarantee to accept all eligible applications and will send you your new account details immediately.

This means within a matter of minutes, you should receive:

  • Your login for the Arro Money online money management dashboard.
  • Your sort code and account number to start receiving payments.
  • Your virtual MasterCard® debit card details via SMS for use online.

You can log in and start setting up outgoing payments and Direct Debits (not currently available, but it’s coming soon!), use your virtual card details online, and in a few days your physical card should arrive in the post so you can use it at ATMs and in shops too.